In high school, I tapped into my nerdy side on a regular basis. I didn’t necessarily love school or exams, but I always came prepared to ace the test.
I have a feeling you did too!
One of the good and bad things about school tests is that you get graded. You know if you did well or not, according to someone else’s standards and opinions.
Business often feels like a series of tests. Except the big difference is that there is no right or wrong answer, and no one is out there telling you if you did it right or not.
The only real indicator of success tends to be your bank account balance…
Business is like a test, but there are no right or wrong answers…
You only have yourself and your results to go by. Sometimes it’s easy to know if you’re on the right track because the clients are knocking on your door, the money is flowing in, and you’re seeing tangible results from your business building efforts.
But other times, it’s like writing out a long essay that you thought was brilliant and you just don’t know why the teacher didn’t give you an A…
You’re doing all the right things, you’re blogging, list building, launching… You’re getting on the phone with potential clients, building the beautifully branded website, and networking your buns off…
But the results aren’t there yet.
And that’s when it happens. The universe decides to test you. Except this isn’t like school anymore, this is real life.
Right when you’re about to pull your hair out because you didn’t have the turnout you expected during your webinar… an old colleague will offer you a full-time job.
Or you’ll get a client for work you decided you no longer want to do. Better yet, someone you love and admire will ask you to leave your business behind and join theirs as an employee.
All of the above has happened to me in my entrepreneurial career while I was being tested by the Universe.
One of the biggest tests I faced was before I “made it big”. I was a year or two into my first business, and things were good but I wasn’t making the kind of money I knew I could be… I was also pretty stressed out running my business.
I just didn’t have that much experience running a business, so there was a lot of stuff to constantly be worrying about.
Out of the blue, I was approached by a semi-famous online business personality to come join his company full time (I’m not going to name names here, but let’s just say he’s doing quite well for himself right now).
I was flattered that he wanted me to join his company, and pleased that he could see my potential. But I also knew that if I left my business, I’d be leaving behind all the hard work I had put into it…
It took some soul searching, because I recognized that this was a “golden opportunity” but I also knew deep in my heart that it wasn’t the right path for me.
How To Ace The Universe’s Test
It’s weird, because it always seems that right when you’re feeling down about your business is when these “easy solutions” show up to see if you’re really committed to the direction you’re headed in.
A great analogy is when you decide to eliminate gluten from your diet or just eat healthier, and then the next thing you know your friend wants to take you to the best pasta joint around.
This makes you question your decisions, and it can really slow down any progress you were already making.
I really believe that most people are just a few “business slumps” away from making it big. Perseverance is really key though, and if you stop putting yourself out there and retreat back inside then you’ll lose the momentum you’ve built up.
We all go through ups and downs in business, and if you let a down week take you out of the game then you’re missing out on all the foundational work you’ve been setting up for months or years.
So when you get this miraculous opportunity that’s actually taking you away from where you want to go, you need to feel into it and re-commit to your direction.
There is no right or wrong answer. It’s a test, but there’s no teacher grading you at the end of your life… so you need to be the one who makes the final call and you are the one who will live with the decisions you make. So getting good at making decisions from your you-ness is really important.
We can all make decisions based on what we think others want for us: our parents, peers, and society at large.
Keep Going Even When You’re Being Tested By The Universe
You’ll be tested on a regular basis: daily even. When there’s a cool new business model you want to explore, when a well known person asks you to collaborate on a project that doesn’t mesh with where you’re going, and when you get sidetracked on your path.
One of my first business resolve tests was right out of college. I was graduating with a good degree in an in-demand field, and I got offered a job on Wall Street. Sweet, right?
Except I had always talked about starting my own business. I even shared my business vision with Robin on our first date in college, but when faced with actually turning down a solid job offer in exchange for an unsure thing… it took some guts.
So how can you know if you’re really on the right path and or if this new opportunity is the thing you should pursue?
I think it takes a lot of self knowledge and introspection.
It also takes sticking to your gut, even when the outside world makes things look easier and shinier “out there”.
Have You Been Tested?
I’d love to know if you’ve run up against any tests from the world at large… leave a comment below and let me know how you dealt with it!